- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A new nationwide survey on how states are improving energy efficiency programs ranks Alaska near the bottom. But a state energy official said Alaska may not be given enough credit for the work it’s done in that area.

The Washington, D.C.- based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has been tracking energy inefficiencies for eight years. It issues an annual survey on how and whether states are making progress.

This year’s survey ranked Alaska 47th in the nation.

Annie Gilleo, the council’s state policy research analyst, said most of the states in the bottom have not made energy efficiency a priority in their policies.

Much of Alaska’s low rating was based on the state’s failure to develop energy-efficiency programs for utilities and the transportation sector. It faulted the state for not requiring commercial buildings to comply with thermal- and lighting efficiency standards, such as those required of public facilities, and for not requiring all new construction - not just state-financed construction - to adhere to the state’s building-energy codes.

The survey gave credit to Alaska for its energy-efficiency think tanks and an energy-rebate program that gives qualifying homeowners up to $10,000 to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. It acknowledged efforts, such as legislation passed in 2010 that set renewable energy goals, but did not give the state credit for that since the effort is voluntary.

Sean Skaling, deputy director for alternative energy and energy efficiency with the Alaska Energy Authority, told KUAC (https://bit.ly/1whdB6X ) he doesn’t think Alaska was given enough credit for energy-conservation efforts.

“The state-government-led initiatives are where our score is very good, actually,” he said. “We’re well above average there.”

The council gave high marks for programs that provide audits for public buildings in remote communities and help pay for improvements and for qualifying private-sector property owners.

Skaling suspects the council’s low rating for Alaska is based at least partly on statistical quirks.

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Information from: KUAC-FM, https://www.kuac.org

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